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Quote1 Yes, archer. Mankind will never know that they owe their future to a simple, incospicuous drab of a man, who gave his eternity... that theirs would not end in flames Quote2
-- Vision

Appearing in "Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • Previous Watcher (Uatu) Next
  • Comrade Sporadnik
  • Mario Rizzo
  • a Masai princess
  • Keigo Ozaki
  • Eliza Willis

Races and Species:


Locations:

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Vehicles:




Synopsis for "Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow!"

The Avengers are on hand to maintain security during a highly publicized match between Sporadik, a Russian chess champion, and a chess-playing computer called Nimrod. In the middle of it, Sporadik collapses from an apparent (fatal) heart attack. While all eyes are on the chess champ, Thor sneaks away and transforms into his alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake, in order to attend to him. He discovers that Sporadik was poisoned. The Avengers deduce that his chess pieces were coated with a poison that could be absorbed through the skin.

Later that night, Leonard Tippit (the man responsible for the poisoning) attempts to sneak out of the building. He spent the day hiding inside the Nimrod computer in order to avoid being connected to the murder. His plan is foiled by the Vision, who stayed behind to investigate. The seemingly mild-mannered Tippit exhibits superhuman powers and easily defeats the Vision. But Captain America arrives on the scene as well and knocks him out. Tippit's powers allow his unconscious form to escape, however.

A short while after the encounter, the assembled Avengers are jolted by a strange energy and made aware of the origin of Tippit's super-powers: two nights prior, Tippit was visited by Uatu the Watcher who informed him of an impending nuclear holocaust that would destroy the entire human race. Giving Tippit vast cosmic power, the Watcher told him of five individuals in the present who would one day birth children, all of whom would play a crucial role in causing the prophecied nuclear holocaust to occur. Utatu tells Tippit that the only way to stop this impending doom is to kill all the parents of these future children. With his new godlike power, Tippit knows every thought of the five individuals he must kill and knows that they are good people. But ultimately, Tippit resigns himself to his fate of killing these people so that he can save countless millions of lives in the future.

With the trip into Tippit's past over, the Avengers decide that killing the innocent people is still morally wrong no matter the circumstances and determine the best course of action is to try and stop Tippit from achieving his goal. The Avengers break up into teams and travel to the locations of each of the remaining four victims. Each time, however, they either arrive too late or are overpowered by Tippit and unable to stop him from killing his targets. During all of this, Iron Man is devising a control helmet to immobilize Tippit.

With the last victim killed, the Scarlet Witch stuns Tippit with a hex bolt long enough for Iron Man to put the control helmet on Tippit. The Watcher then arrives and informs them all that this was all a plot to stop Tippit who was the real menace all along. The Watcher convinced him to go on his killing spree in order to alert the attention of the Avengers whom the Watcher hoped would find a way to subdue him. The ensuing battle weakened Tippit enough for the Watcher to capture him and take him away.

Tippit laments that his actions were all in vain. Not wanting to be as unimportant a person in death as he was in life, he tells the Avengers that he wished he had one moment to be an important person. Taking pity on him, the Avengers promise to let him be known as the man who saved the world before he is whisked away by the Watcher. The Avengers to left to ponder the strange events of the past day.

Solicit Synopsis

Our awesome assemblers face a foe who must murder five innocent people - or the earth will die!

Notes

  • Original story and plot by Ellison, adaptation and script by Thomas.
  • "Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow!" was originally written by Ellison as a synopsis for a Hawkman story. When Julius Schwartz at DC chose not to buy it, it was printed in the fanzine Comic Art #7, which is where Thomas saw it. Thomas then contacted Ellison to buy the story for Marvel.[1]
    • Ellison had no input after Thomas bought the story. All changes necessary to transform the story from a Hawkman tale set in the DC universe to an Avengers story were done by Thomas.[1]
  • Whatever the form that Ellison's original draft took, the story as published is, quite frankly, incoherent and way out of character for the characters involved. (The Avengers performing security detail at a chess match??) Uatu the Watcher in particular seems extraordinarily out of character. While he had already been depicted bending the rules of non-involvement prior to this story, he still takes an extremely active role in causing the events that transpire to occur, including taking custody of Leonard Tippit in the end (a pretty permanent type of involvement). Uatu's plan is also insanely callous, tricking the otherwise good-natured Leonard Tippit into murdering five innocent people for no reason. (The Watcher could have simply alerted the Avengers to the danger that Tippit inadvertantly posed and got them to intervene WITHOUT duping Tippit into becoming a mass murderer.)
  • Presumably, Uatu took Tippit to his domicile on the moon, even though he is never seen again. But what becomes of Tippit after this adventure is never revealed.
  • This issue contains a letters page, Avengers Assemble. Letters are published from Edward D. Gill, Matt Graham, Erik C. Nelson, Joseph Ranisi, Jr. and Paul Kupperberg.
  • This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.[2]

Trivia

  • The notion of a super-computer being able to challenge a human chess grandmaster was already a topic of debate in academic circles when this story was written. Nevertheless, the opening scene with a Russian chess grandmaster dueling with a super-computer anticipates a real-life match between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue in 1996.

See Also

Footnotes



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